Friday, 26 October 2007

Olive-tree Warbler admitted to the British List

The British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee (BOURC) has accepted the record of a first-winter Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum at Boddam, Shetland on 16 August 2006, as the first British record.

This takes the British List to 576 species.

Read more about the species' acceptance onto the British List here.

Bullfinches at Holme NOA

A first-winter male Northern Bullfinch trapped and ringed at Holme NOA Observatory this afternoon:

And a 1st winter male European Bullfinch for comparison:

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Red-flanked Bluetail, Yorkshire, 21st October 2007

You can NEVER have enough Red-flanked Bluetails! Present again today at Old Fall on Flamborough Head, nice weather and a co-operative bird allowed Simon Mitchie to take these two very nice photos.

Red-flanked Bluetail, Yorkshire, 20th October 2007

The 46th record for Britain, the 6th this year, and the 2nd for Yorkshire hot on the heels of the bird at Easington earlier this year in March which sadly died before many were able to get there. But yesterday's bird at Flamborough was trapped, ringed, released and then courteous enough to give everyone interested in seeing this beautiful bird a chance by hanging about until well into the evening, including Steve Evans who took these two great videograbs. The increase in the numbers of Bluetails recorded in Britain is attributed to their population growth and expansion at the west end of their range in Scandinavia - and long may it continue!

Visit Steve's website:

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Autumn on Shetland, 2007

Simon Mitchie got these great shots of some of this autumn's supporting cast on fantastic Shetland. Can a Killdeer and Arctic Warbler really be considered "supporting cast"? Well when they're put alongside a Buff-bellied Pipit (or were there actually two on Fair Isle?), Siberian Thrush, Siberian Rubythroat, White's Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Blyth's Pipit, Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler, Lanceolated Warblers, Blyth's Reed Warblers, Paddyfield Warbler and Red-flanked Bluetail then, quite amazingly, I guess they do indeed become supporting cast.

Quite unbelievable!

1) Pallas's Warbler
2) Killdeer
3) Arctic Warbler

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Radde's Warbler, Leasowe

A fantastic first record for Wirral/Cheshire/Merseyside (depending on which county you think Leasowe actually falls in!), and just a few miles from last week's Blyth's Reed Warbler. So who was it that said that the only fun to be had in October was on either Scilly or Shetland? Photos by Stephen Menzie:

Purple Heron, Ouse Washes RSPB, October 2007

One of two juvenile birds present in Cambridgeshire earlier this month, and captured here in typical viewing conditions by Steve Evans.

For more of Steve's photos and videos, check out his website:

Radde's Warbler, Nanquidno, October 2007

Often difficult to see, let alone photograph, Radde's Warblers can be a real headache for rare bird photographers. And so Steve Evans is to be especially congratulated for this great shot of the recent Cornish bird, which gives a flavour of the real experience of seeing one of these special eastern birds in the field.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Red-backed Shrike at Flamborough

Steve Evans managed two extremely useful videograbs of this odd looking Red-backed Shrike which was present at North Landing on Flamborough Head earlier this month. The extensive grey in the upperparts and obvious pale patch at the base of the primaries led some observers to suggest that this bird may possibly be of the race kobylini found from south-east Turkey and into the Middle East. The taxonomy of Red-backed Shrike does seem to be far from simple (with authorities such as BWP not even recognising kobylini), but thankfully this record has been well documented should future information come to light.

Buff-bellied Pipit in Oxfordshire

Despite their long stays and often showing at very close range, there have been surprisingly few high quality images on the internet of the record number of American Buff-bellied Pipits present in Britain this autumn. But here are some excellent videograbs of the Farmoor Reservoir bird by Steve Evans:

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Autumn in Norfolk, October 2007

A superb set of photos from north Norfolk by John Miller:

1,2) Barred Warbler at Kelling
3) Common Rosefinch at Warham Greens
4) Sabine's Gull at Cley

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Colour-ringed Spoonbills

Can you help the BTO to track Spoonbills in the UK?

Colour-ringed Spoonbills: It is expected that some of the Spoonbills in the southwest at the moment will be colour-ringed. The bird currently on the Hayle Estuary, Cornwall, was ringed in the nest in Holland in June 2006, and was also seen on the River Taw, Devon, from 10 to 23 October 2006. These birds have a coloured ring on each leg carrying a two-digit code, and anyone seeing one of these birds should report it at or by email to

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Blyth's Reed Warbler, Spurn, 6th October 2007

Trapped at Spurn this afternoon, Dave Tucker was in the right place at the right time to get up-close and personal with a bird not normally renowned for giving good views. So certainly a nice experience to be able to see a Blyth's Reed Warbler that's not hidden behind two feet of deep brambles!

Turkestan (Isabelline) Shrike, Yorkshire, October 2007

Usually distant and never particularly easy to photograph, Tristan Reid still managed a nice set of photos at Buckton in East Yorkshire on 2nd October. Some observers believed from the outset that this 1st-winter bird had features more in common with the extremely rare ssp phoenicuroides than the more common British vagrant isabellinus, and when the bird was eventually trapped by Buckton stalwart Mark Thomas, in-hand features confirmed the bird's true racial identity.

This is only the 9th British record of Turkestan Shrike out of a total of 70 accepted records of Isabelline Shrike up to 2005, though no doubt some records were indeed of phoenicuroides but overlooked as such during times when bird identification wasn't quite as complex as it can be today!

And to finish with some good news, as a result of local landowners kindly allowing safe parking in their fields for a small donation, this bird managed to raise a total of £651 which will be donated to the St.Catherine's Hospice in Scarborough.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Red-flanked Bluetail, Weybourne, Sept 2007

Not the extreme rarity it once was (remember the excitement in 1993!), and now even an expected autumn vagrant, but still always a spectacular bird. Photos by Julian Bhalerao:

Sabine's Gull, Cley, Sept 2007

Photos of this lingering juvenile bird by Julian Bhalerao:

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Happisburgh, Sept 2007

Photo by Julian Bhalerao: